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Deputy Sheriff William Robert Hunter | Butte County Sheriff's Office, California Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

Deputy Sheriff

William Robert Hunter

Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2001

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 26

Tour: 3 years

Badge # 81

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 7/26/2001

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Suspect: Also killed

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Deputy William Hunter and Lieutenant Estes were shot and killed after responding to a call involving one neighbor threatening another.

As Deputy Hunter responded to the scene, the original reporting party called back and stated that the suspect had stolen a firearm. Deputy Hunter then requested backup and Lieutenant Estes, who was in the area, volunteered and responded to the scene, arriving 19 minutes after Deputy Hunter.

Deputy Hunter entered the cabin where he was ambushed by the suspect as he walked around the corner just inside the front door. The suspect shot him in the head, fatally wounding him. When Lieutenant Estes entered the cabin, he exchanged shots with the suspect at a range of three feet. Lieutenant Estes' weapon was found with one round remaining and had been jammed when it was struck by one of the suspect's rounds. The exchange of gunfire between Lieutenant Estes and the suspect left both men fatally wounded.


When dispatch was unable to reach either officer, additional units were sent by the California Highway Patrol. When they arrived, they located both cruisers parked in front of the small cabin. The sheriff's department's SWAT team was then called out. After firing tear gas, entry was made into the home where the bodies of Deputy Hunter, Lieutenant Estes, and the suspect were located. The suspect was described as a survivalist who was often seen carrying weapons.

Deputy Hunter had been employed with the Butte County Sheriff's Department for three years.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Lieutenant Leonard Bruce Estes
Butte County Sheriff's Office, California
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2001
Cause: Gunfire

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I was fortunate enough to participate in the debriefing for this killing while I was in the academy. It was a sad day, a day of realization of just what could happen. These two men and their families will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

Res. Deputy Backus
Trinity County Sheriff's Office
October 19, 2012

 

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